Friday, August 15, 2014

Gearing Up For a New Year

Just one more week of official summer vacation left. The last week of August we have back to school teacher meetings. Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting in on the Elementary teachers' summer meeting. It was fun to hear about the ways God has been work in their lives over the summer, and to hear their excitement for the coming school year.

Between tutoring and sitting on the back porch with my kitties, I have spent the last few weeks moving into a new classroom. I'm very excited! We got new carpet installed in two of the high school rooms, and I've been moved into the slightly bigger room. My student who is advising me on color schemes (she's hoping to go into interior design) stopped by yesterday, her response was, "It looks so homey!"

For most people, what they first notice is the books. I get comments such as, "you have more books then the school library!" (which is sadly true), and "people will mistake this for the library". I've also been asked, "Is this your office?" No, no. This is my classroom!

Last fall at the NERA conference in Portland, Donalyn Miller asked the audience, "How do people know that books are your brand?" I chuckled. There is no doubt in people's mind that books and reading is "my brand". My classroom, my Facebook feed, my Twitter feed. Books, books, books.

I'm a literacy teacher. Kids need to be exposed to books if they are going to learn to read and write!

In addition to my new learning space, I'm planning to bring some new practices into the school year. We will be using the Whole Novel method of studying literature (see Whole Novels for the Whole Class by Ariel Sacks); we will be using a new vocabulary study website, Membean, and we will be doing 20% Time (also known as Genius Hour).

Here is a brief video tour of my new classroom.

I am excited for this new school year, although I still have a lot to do to get ready!

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